Each week, Marple Newtown Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual kids, youth groups, teens, and even sports teams that wow us with their accomplishments. This week, we highlight recently graduated Marple Newtown High School senior Suzanna Talento, who was chosen as one of the students to address the .
Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Suzanna Talento
Whiz Kid's Age: 18
Whiz Kid's School:
Whiz Kid's Accomplishment: Suzanna joined her best friend on stage during commencement this year as one of the keynote student speakers to address their class of 288 students. The two girls kept this a secret from everyone, including their families, but each other until graduation day. There were four who submitted their speeches and only two were chosen.
Whiz Kid's Key to Awesomeness: Not one to shy away from a public speaking opportunity, speaking in front of her class on commencement day was a dream come true for Suzanna.
"It was kind of surreal because I've been to the past few graduations and I've always wanted to do that and I've always wanted to speak," said Suzanna. "I was actually expecting to get really nervous but once I got up there, it was actually pretty nice. I was pretty comfortable up there. I think I kind of envisioned doing it for so long that it felt right so I wasn't really nervous about that."
Though she never expected to actually speak on graduation day, Suzanna said it has always been "in the back of my mind."
"When I had the chance to apply to speak, I really jumped at it," recalled Suzanna when she decided to write out her commencement speech.
Though public speaking has become rather natural for Suzanna, as she leads her church's service at every few months, she admits it was something she developed later on.
"I used to be really shy when I was younger and I guess as I got older, I grew more confident in myself speaking-wise," shared Suzanna. "I just grew more confident and knowledge of things, and I grew more confident in my speaking as well."
And that confidence that Suzanna gained over the years is exactly what she encouraged her classmates to do as they took their next stepping stone in college.
"While we really don't know what we end up doing in our lives–we're not really supposed to know now but to rely on what we learned on the past to help us be confident in deciding on our future," said Talento about her speech. "Also, to remember our friends and the lessons we've learned, and to take everything we've done so far to boostus in the next chapter of our lives."
One of the things she'll miss the most about her time at Marple Newtown was being heavily involved in LINK (Leaders Involved Networking Kids), where they went to an overnight South Mountain YMCA Camp for a leadership weekend retreat.
"I was privileged enough to lead two weekends and go as a student participant. It was one of the best experiences of my life," shared Suzanna. "You pass them in the hallways every single day but it was just a really great experience to connect with people that you wouldn't normally know or hang out with. It was really a life-changing experience."
Suzanna said she hopes to continue to be involved and help raise funds to give future students that same type of experience this year.
In addition, Suzanna said she'll miss her teachers and those involved in the Renaissance leadership program at the school–rewarding students for good grades and good attendance.
Though she'll miss many things about high school, Suzanna said she's excited and looking forward to attending Franklin & Marshall this fall. Suzanna will be trying out for the field hockey team and hopes to "try new things and branch out" such as joining a literary magazine at the school. She plans to major in biology.
Editor's note: Know a great kid who made Eagle Scout or did your local soccer team take the championship? They may be our next Patch Whiz Kid honoree. We want to hear about these amazing children and teens and select one each week as the Patch Whiz Kid.